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Andrew Myers has been part of the Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC: Rural) since 2011.
Andrew’s work focuses on community participation, housing, geography, transportation, disability measurement, self-employment, and ecological models of disability. He is particularly interested in how “place” and “health” interact to influence human behavior.
Andrew earned an MA in geography from the University of Montana in 2015 and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He grew up in Bakersfield, CA and found his home in Missoula, MT.
Rural Transportation Options (lead)
The lack of accessible public transportation is a barrier to employment, healthcare access, and other aspects of community participation for people with disabilities. Though transportation barriers exist in both urban and rural places, there is a lack of knowledge about how people with disabilities access and use transportation in their rural communities. This project will begin to develop an evidence-base to better understand rural transportation development through two different surveys and analyses of national datasets.
Impacts of COVID-19 on People with Disabilities (lead)
The goal of this exploratory research is to investigate how COVID-19, and responses to it, are impacting people with disabilities in rural and urban places. Like everyone else, people with disabilities will likely experience the impacts of COVID-19 differently depending on where they live and resources available to them. Understanding how these individuals are responding and adapting to this pandemic is critical for informing planning and creating accommodations for future crises.
Effort Capacity and Choice: Exploring a Dynamic Model of Participation (lead)
Participating in the community requires effort, and people vary in how much they spend before needing rest. As a result, everyone must make choices about what activities they spend their effort on. In this project, we will examine the relationship between personal effort and community participation by implementing two unique interventions (bathing modifications and a physical exercise program) and studying their impacts on the choices people make.
Exploring Rural Disability Onset
In order to understand rural and urban differences in disability rates, we need to understand how disability evolves and what influences disability severity outcomes. If disability evolves differently in different places, these differences may provide insight into the nature and context of rural disability and may help inform interventions.
Self-employment is an important employment option for people with disabilities, especially in rural areas where jobs are limited. Building on previous research, this project will develop, pilot, and evaluate online self-employment resources for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation (TVR) programs.
Rural Disability Hub for COVID-19 Vaccination Outreach (lead)
Connecting with rural partners to promote COVID-19 vaccination
The Rural Disability Hub for COVID-19 Vaccination Outreach is a partnership with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), and our rural disability champions, to address structural barriers to vaccination and improve rural understandings about COVID-19 and vaccination issues affecting people with disability. We will use local focus groups to: 1) curate community-informed and materials and outreach strategies, and 2) develop recommendations for addressing structural barriers to vaccination. The Hub will disseminate rural outreach materials and strategies through multiple established disability, health care, public health, and other partners at the local, state and national levels, and will share information and lessons learned through the AUCD network.